Saudi amnesty scheme to benefit 30,000 Indians | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Saudi amnesty scheme to benefit 30,000 Indians

delhi Updated: Oct 06, 2010 22:47 IST
Jayanth Jacob

Some 30,000 Indians are expected to benefit from the amnesty scheme announced by the Saudi Arabian government last month and preparations are on to help them fly back home once the formalities are over.

The amnesty scheme, for a period of six months, helps illegal residents of Saudi Arabia leave the country without facing punishment.

There are no exact figures on the number of Indians staying illegally in Saudi, but government estimates put it at 30,000. There are 1.8 million Indians in Saudi Arabia at present.

A worker can become illegal in situations such as leaving the legal employer to seek employment elsewhere, entering Saudi for work through a visiting visa, staying on in the country after arriving on a haj or umrah visa as well as overstaying after the completion of legal employment.

The Saudi government has not yet come out with the finer details of the scheme, and it is not known whether the amnesty scheme would be similar to that of the UAE. In the UAE, illegal workers were given an opportunity to regularise their stay by obtaining legal employment.

Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmed told HT that the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah were fully geared to handle the implementation of the scheme.

"The mission will be giving detailed publicity to the scheme so that all illegal Indians are encouraged to take advantage of it," the envoy said.

Besides helping to expedite the formalities, the mission will negotiate with airlines to provide special fares as well arranging for special flights, the envoy added.